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Employment Contract Solicitors

Restrictive Covenants In Employment Contracts

Restrictive covenants (or post-termination restrictions) are contractual clauses that are enforceable even after you leave an employer.

These restrictions usually last anywhere between 6 and 12 months once you leave and can prevent you:

  • Working for a competitor or setting up in competition
  • Working for a previous client, contact or supplier
  • Poaching other employees
  • Poaching clients
  • Taking or using confidential business information.

Restrictive covenants are a very complex area of employment law. Our lawyers can help you negotiate restrictions, advise on their enforceability, or defend you if your former employer is taking you to court.

What Can We Help With?

We understand that you can feel trapped and unable to move on if you have restrictive covenants in your contract. However, to be enforceable a clause can’t be too restrictive, and it can’t be too vague either.

Our solicitors can help you in a range of situations, including:

  • Reviewing and negotiating contracts before you start a new job
  • Assessing whether you’re breaching any restrictive covenants before setting up on your own, or leaving to go to a competitor
  • Negotiating post-termination restrictions as part of a settlement agreement and severance package
  • Negotiating a waiver of restrictive covenants if your employment is being ended due to no fault of your own (such as through redundancy)
  • Defending your position if your ex-employer is threatening legal action against you.

Who Can We Help?

Our lawyers can help senior executives and professionals who are subject to post-termination restrictions.

The consequences of breaching a restrictive covenant can be significant. You could be liable for all the losses and costs your ex-employer has incurred as a result of the breach. So it’s important that you seek advice from us as soon as possible if you’re unclear about your position.

Just because a restriction is in your documentation, it doesn’t mean that it’s enforceable. We can give you practical, commercial advice on whether your previous employer could win a breach of contract claim against you.

Why Choose Us?

Restrictive covenants and post-termination restrictions are put in contracts to protect businesses. By design they are there to disadvantage you if you decide to move on. We understand the detrimental impact that restrictions can have on your future, and will fight hard for your rights.

Our employment solicitors are very experienced in this complex area of law. There is often a grey area when it comes to restrictive covenants, which leaves room for negotiation. In this situation, it helps to have experts on your side who can give you the best legal and commercial advice.

We’re listed in the independent legal guides, Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 as specialists in our field. We’ll work with you to agree the best way of funding your case. We offer a range of flexible fee options – including hourly rate and fixed fee. You might also be able to fund your case through legal expenses insurance that you already have (often as part of a home insurance policy).

Contact Us

If you’d like advice about restrictive covenants, our employment lawyers can help. Call us on 0207 650 3999 or contact us online.

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Restrictive Covenants - More Information
    • What are the common types of restrictive covenant?
    • It’s increasingly the case that employers try to restrict employees after they leave a company.

      These restrictions usually last anywhere between 6 and 12 months and are usually set out in your employment contract or settlement agreement. Sometimes there might be a separate document which details them instead. It’s worth noting too that if you hold shares in a company, there may also be restrictions in your shareholder agreement.

      Common restrictive covenant clauses include:

      • Non-compete
        This restricts you from setting up in competition or working for a competitor.
      • Non-solicitation
        Prevents you from poaching clients of your previous firm.
      • Non-dealing
        Similar to above but restricts you from having any contact with former clients.
      • Non-poaching
        Stops you poaching other employees, teams or contractors to come work with you.
      • Non-disclosure of information
        Prevents you sharing or using confidential business information.
    • Are restrictive covenants enforceable?
    • For a restrictive covenant to be enforceable, your former employer needs to show that it is reasonably necessary for the protection of their business interests.

      Restrictions cannot be too vague or too restrictive. If they are, they may be considered void and “in restraint of trade”. Just because you’ve signed a document which contains a restrictive covenant, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are bound by it.

      It could also be that there is a dispute around time limits. Restrictive covenants have to be specific, and be for a reasonable time period (usually between 6 and 12 months). This period should be reduced for any time you spend on gardening leave.

      If you’re considering leaving your current employer and are worried about restrictions, it’s important to get legal advice. We can provide a commercial and legal opinion of whether a restriction will be enforceable.

    • Where Are We Based?
    • Our employment lawyers are based in major cities across the country, so we can help wherever you are.

      We offer an initial consultation, either over the phone or in person, where we can discuss your case.

      Call us on 0207 650 3999 or contact us online today to find out how we can help you.

Shah Qureshi is highly esteemed for his work, pursuing the cause of discriminated professionals against large corporate entities."

Chambers & Partners, 2019

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